Iran Responds to Tillerson, Calls on U.S. to 'Fulfill Its Own Commitments'

Iranian foreign minister reacts to news that Trump's administration is conducting a review of its entire Iran policy

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at a news conference in Tehran, August 23. 2015.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at a news conference in Tehran, August 23. 2015. Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday that the United States should meet its own obligations agreed in a landmark nuclear deal in 2015 rather than raising accusations against the Islamic Republic. 

Zarif said in a tweet that the United States should "fulfill its own commitments," in response to a comments from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday, Tillerson attacked Iran, calling it "the world's leading sponsor of terrorism" and declaring that the Trump administration was "conducting across the entire government a review of our Iran policy."

In his tweet, Zarif also addressed Tillerson's terrorism charge: "Worn-out US accusations can't mask its admission of Iran's compliance w/ JCPOA."

Iran helped to create and continues to fund Hezbollah, the Lebanese military and political organization which the United States has listed as a terrorist organization.

Both Iran and Hezbollah are currently fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces. Iran has also sent military advisers and fighters to neighboring Iraq, where they are taking part in the Baghdad government's operations against the Islamic State. 

Tillerson also blasted the nuclear deal that was signed with Iran in 2015, and warned that the agreement doesn't achieve its goal of stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

In a letter sent to House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, Tillerson said that Iran remained compliant with the 2015 deal, but there were concerns about its role as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Under the nuclear deal, the State Department must notify Congress every 90 days on Iran's compliance under the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It was the first such notification under U.S. President Donald Trump.

Iranian hardliners have regularly criticized Zarif and President Hassan Rohani for their role in negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal, which they see as capitulation to Western powers.

During his presidential campaign, Trump called the nuclear agreement "the worst deal ever negotiated", raising questions over whether he would rip it up once he took office.

The historic deal between Iran and six major powers restricts Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international oil and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The Trump administration's inter-agency review of policy towards Iran will examine whether the lifting of sanctions against Tehran is in the U.S. national security interests.